5 OF THE BEST FREE TOOLS EVERY MARKETING PROFESSIONAL NEEDS

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Marketing has a lot of aspects to manage nowadays between print and digital and there is a lot to learn. Some of the digital marketing that we aim to help clients succeed with is graphic design, content management, and social media management. When running your own business, it can get costly to invest in agencies or tools, plus it’s difficult to master some of these skills. What if you have no graphic design expertise? What if you can never keep track of social media? What if you run out of blog ideas? Fear not! While these websites below have paid options that I highly recommend, their free packages have an incredible amount of features that can assist any business owner in handling some of their digital marketing needs. Below I have listed my personal favourites for digital marketing that I believe every business owner or individual in charge of the marketing efforts of a business could benefit from getting to know.

1. Canva
Canva is a graphic design builder for any type of marketing material - digital or print. Canva has truthfully made our business stand out competitively - when we walk into meetings we have multiple handouts and offers, all designed entirely on Canva. They have beautiful templates, and everything they offer is completely customizable. This is one of the easiest websites to use and is a truly no-fuss DIY experience. Many of our social posts for new content promotion are done using Canva, as well. Further, they have preset sizes for certain needs. Never struggle to guess the size of your Twitter cover photo or a trifold brochure again. I am mildly obsessed with Canva and they only encourage this by retweeting my love for them. I cannot tell you what a lifesaver this tool is.

Favourite feature: you can upload your own graphics or images, so you do not need to use only theirs, in case you want to integrate your own logo, images, and more.

2. Piktochart
My colleagues and I have used Piktochart for infographic-style posts and presentations. Much like Canva, it has a lot of amazing templates and graphics that are all free to use. The styles they offer range from professional to fun, and I’ve had friends use this tool for university presentations, while I’ve personally applied it to website design. All of your creations are available in web format, for printing, or for sharing - you can choose how you want to save your document.

Favourite feature: For free, you can embed your designs into any website via an "iframe" and the content is entirely web-readable (actual text, not text as an image).

3. Later
With a million things on the go, social media is the last thing a busy marketer wants to think about. Did you remember to post three times a day on Instagram? Did you share to your Twitter? When’s the last time your page made a Facebook update? It’s all a big social blur. Luckily, Later (formerly, Latergram) has an awesome social media management platform. It allows complete control over scheduling, cross-posting, and even provides you some basic analytics. Further, you can see how your entire profile looks if you’re going for an aesthetic, as so many Instagrammers are nowadays. Later is not a bot and will not post, follow, like, or comment on your behalf (which can lead to account bans, A.K.A bad for business). Instead, Later allows you to schedule 30 posts in advance for free, and will push a notification to remind you. You can upload and pre-write all the content from your desktop, too instead of designing it all on your phone.

Favourite feature: I have a million favourite features for Later, but the seemingly insignificant one that I love is that you can put paragraph indentation spacing between the sentences on your Instagram post. As many as you want. No more ugly dots. No more commenting your hashtags below your post. Hide it all below the fold!

4. LogoMakr
To get a quick, modern logo designed, this is our must-have graphic design tool. Choose from any number of their graphics and change the colour, size, and overall design. You can add text, but are limited in terms of font styles. Since you can freely download any creation, bring the graphics into other programs, such as Photoshop for further unleashing of creativity or for better implementation of font styles. We’ve created a logo on Logomakr meant as a place holder for a client’s website development and they fell in love with it! It’s very simple and easy to use, and you don’t need any graphic design skills to manage it.

Favourite feature: the amount of pre-made, simplistic graphics they have is innumerable and available for any category.

5. Google Trends
Stumped on blog ideas? Us, too. It can seem difficult to continually produce content, especially content that centres around those same-old keywords. Bring life back into your blog! Check out the latest trends on Google and write some fresh, new content that’s relevant to the most popular searches of the last day, week, month, or year to draw in some new traffic. For example, we love sharing marketing techniques, and growth hacker is the trendiest marketing term out recently. This is applicable to ur blogs, gives us something new to talk about, and it’s trending for a wide audience.

Favourite feature: narrowing down your search by type, country, date, and category ensures that you will find relevant topics to you. Plus, it’s fun to see the trendiness of your name in search over the years and countries.

Another thing marketers always need is an unlimited amount of free stock photography and, with the latest web design trends and demands, videography. Many clients do not have access to photographers or videographers, or high quality media to properly showcase their business online. While we always offer clients a photography or videography session, should they feel it benefits their website, we always recommend growing through stock, first. Stock photography maintains the professionalism of the website and the quality of the web design. Read our blog on our favourite free stock photography and stock video websites.

Posted by Samantha Lloyd

Samantha is the co-founder and CEO of DevoKit. When she isn't busy running around like an overly-organized and well-prepared chicken with its head cut off, she can be spotted reading the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time or pretending to have opinions about wine and cheese pairings (all cheese goes with all wine, let's be honest). Her goal is to encourage other women to explore their interests in technology and engineering fields.

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